Have you ever heard of Glut1 deficiency? Based on a story featured on News-Medical, neither had the parents of their diagnosed daughter 4-year-old Chloe Olivarez. Glut1 deficiency is a rare metabolic disease that depletes the brain of glucose, which the brain needs to develop normally. It also causes a host of other problems including epilepsy, microcephaly, and developmental delays.
Chloe had been having hundreds of seizures a day when her parents enrolled her in a small clinical study at UT Southwestern Medical Center. During the study, something remarkable happened: Chloe began to respond to an edible oil that dramatically reduced the number of seizures she was experiencing. The rest sounds like something from a child’s fairy tale.
“Immediately we noticed fewer seizures. From the Chloe we knew two years ago to today, this is a completely different child. She has done amazingly well,” Brandi Olivarez, Chloe’s mother reports to News-Medical. Other trial participants also showed improvement that for some included a rapid increase in brain metabolism and improved neuropsychological performance. Researchers discovered that oil derived from castor beans, called triheptanoin, helped ameliorate the patients’ brain glucose depletion. Until now, the only accepted treatment for Glut1 disease has been a high-fat ketogenic diet. This study is preparing the way for an alternative treatment using castor bean oil. It has not yet been approved for use outside of the study, but it is available commercially in the US for clinical use.
Several trial participants reported mild stomach upset as a side effect, but Chloe has not had any adverse reactions and her parents continue to be amazed by her progress. “Before, she was having so many seizures a day that she couldn’t even talk. Now she sings all the time, she can eat whatever she wants, and her speech is greatly improved. She still has some learning delays, but has come a long way,” said Mrs. Olivarez.
We hope these little magical beans will be able to provide relief to the children affected by this crippling disease.
This bean may not lead to a Giant in the sky, but it could lead to the stop of seizures in many Glut1 children. Share this food for thought by clicking a social button below!